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Excerpt from Proceedings of the United States Naval Institute, 1879, Vol. 8
In 1871 the Gramme machine was introduced in France, and very soon afterwards special modifications were made for military and naval service. It is unnecessary to refer to the experiments made in different countries testing the efficacy of the light, as they have uniformly resulted in its adoption. One navy after another has made practical tests, and in every case it has been shown conclusively that it would be simply impossible for a torpedo boat, in clear weather, to approach undetected a man-of-war aboard which the light was well used. Experiments at Newport show the same practical results, and although nothing has yet been done towards the introduction of the light into our service, it will become necessary as soon as our ships are built with a view to meet the requirements of modern warfare. In nearly every navy in the world except that of the United States, the search light is established as a necessity, and is furnished to all large vessels.
Torpedo defense is, of course, the principal use of the light, but it would be of service in many other ways, as in chasing or engaging at night, keeping fleets or convoys together, in preventing collisions, in entering harbors, or in night signalling. Recently one of the ships of the British flying squadron shifted her foretopmast at night by the electric light of another of the squadron which lay near her, and the importance of the search light was conclusively shown by the British squadron at Alexandria. The light is very generally in use aboard cable ships, and notes are frequently seen stating that work was carried on all night which would otherwise have been impossible. Although the general utility of the light is undeniable, there remains a wide field for discussion of the details, which are still in the experimental stage.
The invention of the dynamo machine has given a new development to electricity, bringing it out of the laboratory into the sphere of every-day utility. At the Electrical Exhibition in Paris it was seen moving cars, boats and balloons, ploughing, boring, pumping, lifting, hammering, sawing, and driving a great variety of machines; conveying power from a stationary engine to make it available in a thousand ways at a distance. The starting-point of this new science of electricity is found in the discovery by Faraday, in 1831, of electromagnetic induction. The principle on which all magneto or dynamo machines are based is that if a coil of wire forming part of a closed circuit be moved in a magnetic field, a current of electricity is induced which can be utilized in any part of the circuit.
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